Where are the gods?
Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? 2 Kings 18:34-35
These are the words of the Assyrian official sent to intimidate and bully King Hezekiah into submission. They knew about this king. They knew about his religious reforms and his zeal for the God of Israel. They knew that his confidence was in the Lord, and therefore they were doing all they could to weaken his trust in God. The basic argument was this: we have plenty of evidence to show that the gods of the nations cannot deliver those nations from the King of Assyria. What makes you think your God will be any different?
Far from being an old argument, it continues to be made to this day. What difference is there between Christ and Buddha? What difference is there between Christianity and Islam? Aren't these all just different ways of arriving at the same place? Does it really make any difference whom we worship, or if we worship anyone at all?
We know the answer. The problem is putting the God of the Bible in the same category as other gods. All other religions really are just manmade ways of trying to scratch a religious itch. But Christianity is different. The God of the Bible is not like other gods and the Christian faith is categorically different from other religious.
How? Because the God of the Bible is real, and other gods are false. God has revealed himself, not through Buddha or Confucius or Joseph Smith or Muhammed but in Scripture and in history through his own and eternal Son, Jesus Christ. And whereas other gods cannot deliver you from the wrath to come, Jesus Christ can. By his death, he obtained eternal salvation for those who trust in him (Heb. 5:9; 9:12).
We know the end of the story in the book of 2 Kings. Judah was saved and Assyria was confounded because the God of Israel was not just another one of the gods. But an even greater deliverance was purchased on the cross, and all who belong to Jesus will one day enjoy its fruits in eternal and joy-increasing fullness.